A few months ago, I visited a doctor for reasons utterly and completely unrelated to my reproductive status and health, unless you view all nulliparous women as potential mothers: it was to renew a prescription. After he had asked me all of the relevant questions and I was approved, he decided to tack on a warning, one that I had heard before, about how I should not use the medication if I were nursing, pregnant, or planning on becoming pregnant. I laughed and said that said situation was as close to impossible as it could get for me.
I don’t know what reaction I expected — an answering laugh, perhaps. What I didn’t expect was for him to give me a stern lecture on how no measures could totally preclude pregnancy as a possibility and that no matter how careful I was, “something could still happen.”
Is there any other area of life where safety measures are so underhyped?
Entire sex ed curricula are built on this notion of “well, nothing is foolproof.” Everyone, especially those of us with wombs, is warned that though we might take preventative measures, we could still end up diseased or pregnant — if those preventative measures are discussed at all.
The fact-withholding fear-mongering doesn’t end there. Some gynecologists spread factually-inaccurate information, sometimes in the hopes that patients would conform to their narrow understanding of what constitutes healthy sexuality. People are generally horribly misinformed about sex, and medical school doesn’t fix that problem for everyone.
Of course there are risks to sexual activities, especially if performed without safer sex measures such as barriers and the discussion of test results. However, it is rarely if ever assumed that people will drive more recklessly due to the use of automotive safety devices. For example, the admonishment to always wear a seat belt is never accompanied with the admonishment that they don’t work 100% of the time. Indeed, a relative of mine was fatally injured by her seat belt. Unless the Catholic Church is to be believed, condoms can never actually cause STIs or pregnancy.
If only “no glove, no love” were the new “buckle up — it’s the law.” After all, dying from an STI or pregnancy is far less likely than dying in a car crash.
Main image via.